WILLISTON, N.D. - The spring of 2017 saw increased mental health sessions among students at Williston State College.
The number of sessions increased by around 60 percent from last spring, going from 99 sessions to 162. However, the number of students seen only rose from 36 to 45.
"The majority of students completed either one or two sessions," Leah Hoffman, WSC's Mental Health Counselor said. "The counseling office had a very productive spring semester this year. I'm happy with these numbers because it shows students engaging in the self-care process and putting in the time and effort to reach their goals."
Other students attended multiple sessions, with some coming in as often as once a week.
Hoffman attributes the growing success of WSC's counseling office, which will enter into its fourth year this fall, to a culture of support at the college.
"[We have] a great multidisciplinary team of professionals," she stated, "as well as an administration who understands that students are more successful in the classroom when they are healthy, both physically and mentally."
Hoffman also credits the collaborative relationship with Lake Region State College (LRSC) and Dakota College at Bottineau, which launched in 2016, with increasing mental health coverage on WSC's campus. The program allows WSC students to connect via computer to mental health professionals at those colleges, increasing the care options available to them.
Four WSC students used the service in spring for a total of seven sessions. Meanwhile, Hoffman saw an LRSC student seven times through the program.
According to last semester's figures, the most common self-reported issues that students present with are anxiety and depression. A high number of students also report substance abuse. Many seek counseling to develop coping skills and to find ways to feel confident and capable so they can achieve academic success.
Now that Hoffman has a few years of data to fall back on, she's able to track trends and note a flow to each semester, which will go a long way when it comes to supporting those students.
"College is very cyclical," she noted. "Students' lives change every four months or so with moving-in, getting new classes, the holidays, and preparing for graduation or summer break."
For more information on WSC, please visit www.willistonstate.edu
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.